Tuesday, November 26, 2019

November Shawl

It's been a quiet, cold November; a November of gentle rain and hushed smokey mornings, of mist and pale sun.

I haven't been sewing this month but I have been working on a slow crochet project. This shawl isn't anything fancy and it's almost mind-numbingly simple in it's repetition of rows but that very simplicity made it quite special as I worked on it, a little each day I could find time.

It being simple enabled me to work on it while also paying attention to other things. Somedays I worked on it almost-by-myself and thought many things, letting my mind travel inwards and beyond. Other days I worked on it while listening to YouTube documentaries or talks, especially on religious cults as well as the Adena and Hopewell mound builders (no, the two topics have no relation! 😂) I also worked on it while telling stories to the kids, especially of my own childhood and the time before they were born. This month I have been slowly working on the rather daunting task of gathering up all my old journals and diaries from my 8-year old self onward and writing a summary of my life stories, to give to my children one day. This month my goal was to get a bare outline ready to fill in later and telling stories to my children certainly helped me remember specific things in more detail and to remember other things I had long since forgot. So, crocheted into every stitch are memories of those times and all the feelings I had as I went through them.

This light, pretty yarn came to me on a hot evening in late July. It was too hot to be thinking much about cold weather but I knew I wanted to make something lovely with this yarn when I found it. Two skeins came home with me and I let it sit awhile, out of necessity, and thought about what I would make.

I decided at last to use it up and make a simple shawl, working it as big as the skeins would allow. I find that I have been using my wraps and shawls a lot lately, especially in the morning when I walk the kids to bus stop and need something I can easily throw on to dash out the door. The girls also really love wrapping up in the big shawls at night when they're watching a movie or reading a book. So, this will be used quite a lot!

I had a very tiny bit of yarn left after I finished the last row and cut it into strands to make a sparse fringe round the edges. The fringe would look  better if it were denser but, I am still happy with how it came out and happy that every bit of yarn was used!

Now if only my kitties wouldn't use it so often for a bed, I could use it for a wrap! 😂 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, my loves. There is so much to be grateful for; especially for the joy of existing right here, right now.

Much love,

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Living History at Ceasars Creek

Back in September I attended a small event at a local historic site with most of the kids. My oldest, David, decided to forgo the prospect of time-travel in favor of going to a metal workers convention with our backyard neighbor, who builds airplanes in his spare time (yes, really!) so I only had to worry about scraping together old clothes for the younger ones. Thankfully, we all had enough of everything to be outfitted appropriately for a very rural type of impression (which is my preference!).

It was a pretty last minute decision for me to go. Since it's fairly local I figured I could always leave if I needed to, at any time, and I surprised myself by really enjoying the experience and staying til the end of the day. It was a gentle, quiet, low-key event and I liked it that way. One of my favorite moments was sitting on the cabin steps with the children and reading passages of the Bible to them while Malachi sewed a button back onto his waistcoat.

Some highlights of the event for me included taking Benjamin and Rose to the outhouse mid-afternoon, and discovering that the woods around us were full of Confederate soldiers. I wasn't expecting that so the genuine feelings of surprise and unease added to a bit of a "period moment", as they say. Benjamin was intrigued by the soldiers and Rosie wanted to run back to the cover of our little camp area behind the cabin as fast as possible.

My darling Benjamin.

Not a period recipe, but "inspired by". I made this with dried figs, orange marmalade,
ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, apple cider and brown sugar.


I also enjoyed taking a long walk through the woods with Malachi and Rose in the evening. The park surrounding the village has lovely trails and we had fun exploring a few of them. On our way we passed many pawpaw trees and Rosie and I sang many repetitions of "Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch", substituting Rosie's name for "Sweet Little Susie", of course. 😁

She loved going to the water pump near the flower garden to get water. She'd recite:
"Jack and Jill went up a hill to fetch a pail of water. . ."

Rosie took this one! I gave her the camera for a while and let her take whatever pictures she liked.
It's interesting to see the world from her perspective. I love it!

It was nice to visit with a few friends I hadn't seen for a while, and perhaps the best part of the event was meeting a friend I have known online for many years, but had never met in person up til that day. He was passing through the area so stopped in to say hello. I was so surprised and so happy to finally meet him!
A cat someone apparently left at the village! I think he found a good home with some of the volunteers!

Rosie and a little friend - and the cat!

I thought about this event for a long time after it was over and felt a little bit of interest come back for reenacting. I ordered a few new patterns to make the big boys some new garments for next year and I actually have plans to make my ball gown, at last! I'll be going to a dance in a few months so it's time to get this thing made. I bought tickets so yes, I am going to go even if I decide I'd rather not. I received my package with some cotton bobbinett and lace yesterday so now to sort out a bertha design and try to make a decent silk dress out of 5 yards of fabric. 😁 All in good time.

Much love,

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Toadstool Tie Back Boots for Rosie

I made these a few weeks ago but only got pictures of the first version of them. The version that didn't-quite-work, so that I reluctantly tore apart the next day and remade. This time, with much better results! So this is the second version of Rose's green velvet toadstool slippers and I love them so much I want a me-sized pair. 😂 Since making these, though, I haven't sewn anything at all except mending so who knows when I will actually get around to making more.

These are the Twig and Tale Tie Back Boots pattern. I scoured the internet for any free similar pattern but in the end I caved and purchased this one, which was, I think, a good thing. This pattern was just as awesome as the other ones that I have tried and I love supporting a business that promotes upcycling textiles, cutting back on the consumption of paper and ink and creates a sturdy, professional looking garment from the get go. 

Rosie's green slippers were a practice pair so I didn't put a ton of effort into making them special, but I couldn't resist adding a few tiny appliques when she chose an upholstery weight green velveteen for the main fabric. A few scraps from the scrap drawer and some fusible interfacing later, we had toadstools! 

The first version of these were lined in the polka-dot knit left over from her leggings and tunic I made a month or two ago. They also had soles made of leather on the outside and fusible foam and minky on the inside. Soft, comfy but. . .too thick. It made the shoe very small inside and Rosie said her toes felt "stuffy". The pattern instructions, sewing the lining and outer shoe together around the top edge, keeps the lining "floating free" inside the shoe, so that when Rose removed her foot, the lining came out with it. This could have been remedied by a few subtle, firm stitches to attach the lining to the outer, but I decided to try something else.

I love hearing her tell me allllll the colors she sees in a leaf this time of year!
This one had: red, orange, yellow, green, purple and blue in it. 

I deconstructed the first version the next day and made a new lining of plain woven cotton. For the sole I used a single thick piece of wool broadcloth with the leather sole on the outside. After constructing the new lining, I sewed the lining to the outer shoe around the sole, right sides together. When the outer shoe was pulled up around the lining, the soles stayed together. No more lining coming out when Rose took her shoes off! To finish the top edge, I turned down a narrow cuff and topstitched it into place. 

Dirty fingernails after spending an afternoon in the leaves! 😂

The tie back boots are awesome since they are so adjustable and there are no ties to worry about untying and retying every time they are put on or taken off. The fit comes from the semi-permanent tie that goes around the ankle and the fact that the tie is made of stretchy material or elastic - in this case, a bit of polka dot knit scrap cut into a strip. 

While these are more of an around-the-house slipper, the leather soles make them work for outdoor use if the weather is dry. I've seen other versions of these shoes made with material that is meant to be waterproof and can be used for more heavy use outdoors. Maybe someday I will try that! 

I hope you all are having a blessed November. Soon it will be Thanksgiving! I am so enjoying this time of year!

Much love,